Fat Loss is NEAT | 4 Ways to Accelerate Fat Loss

Fat Loss is NEAT -
4 Ways to Accelerate Fat Loss

Most often the simple things are the MOST important

Whenever we want to lose weight, or more specifically lose fat, we tend to jump to the complicated things: the strict diet that removes and entire food group or the crazy exercise plan that requires 2 workouts a day.  We usually overlook the simple things that when done consistently can add up to HUGE results.  

NEAT is one of those simple yet often overlooked things that can be make or break for your fat loss, but you're probably not paying any attention to.  NEAT stands for Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.   That basically means all the energy, aka calories, your body needs to move throughout the day that are NOT basic functions to keep you alive or exercise.  It's walking, doing the dishes, standing, fidgeting, gardening, putting away laundry etc.  
NEAT has a profound and impactful effect on our ability to not gain fat, and to lose fat.  There is a HUGE variation between people, but we have a lot of control over our NEAT based on how much we move in the day.  Many of us are much more sedentary than we realize - we sit in the car, at our desk, while we eat, on the couch, with the kids, etc.  This lack of movement is reducing our NEAT - it's reducing the energy/calories we burn throughout the day which for most of us translates to weight gain.  

Improving your NEAT could be a crucial factor in finally reaching and maintaining your weight loss and health goals.  In this episode I'm going to break down what NEAT is, give you some SUPER eye opening studies about NEAT and how it's working for or against you, and finally 4 ways to improve your NEAT and accelerate your fat loss.  

One of the BEST ways to improve NEAT is walking! To encourage your walking and get some accountability, join our 30 Day Movement Challenge starting April 18th! It's totally free, plus there will be prizes! Grab your friends and register HERE!


PS. If anything in this episode resonated with you, then share the LOVE! Post a screenshot of this episode in your stories and tag me @tarafaulmann! And join the conversation in our FREE No Nonsense Wellness Community!

Full transcription available at the bottom of this post

Show Notes: 

Links mentioned in the show: 
30 Day Movement Challenge! a super fun and supported challenge to get you MOVING in the right direction.  Click the button register to receive the link to the group, the workbook, and trackers.

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Full Transcript: 

Welcome back friends. Today we're going to add on to our conversation that we've been having about metabolism and walking. If you haven't listened to those episodes, they're episode 37 About metabolism and episode 40 about walking in the power of just taking a walk. We're gonna further that conversation today and talk about fat loss, and specifically how NEAT affects fat loss. NEAT stands for non exercise activity, thermogenesis Don't worry, I'll explain everything about that later. But NEAT can have a profound effect on your ability to lose fat. So we're going to learn about that today, we're going to learn how to use it to our advantage and I'm going to give you some tips to get going right now. Let's go Welcome back to

the no nonsense wellness podcast, the place for women who are trying to do all the things and stay healthy, sane and actually enjoy life in the process. Hey, I'm Tara, a trained therapist, a life coach, a nutrition coach and a fitness instructor. And I'm on a mission to help you

take back control of your mind health and life. Each week, I'll be cutting through the nonsense and getting real with you. I'll bring you the insight and information you need to take control of your weight and health. Find food freedom. And finally break free from the thoughts that are sabotaging you and holding you back. You, my friend are powerful, and the world needs you

to start showing up in a bigger way. It's time to get unstuck and start moving forward.

So let's pop in those earbuds, tie up those shoes, let's walk and talk. 

Fat Loss is NEAT. Remember, whenever we talk about weight loss here, what we're really talking about is fat loss. I don't want to lose weight, I don't want to just lose water weight or muscle weight or even bone density weight. What I want to lose is fat weight, right? So we're always talking about that loss when we talk about weight loss. And when we talk about fat loss, we have a tendency to always jump to the hardest, most complicated things like that diet that removes an entire food group or some intense exercise program that requires two workouts a day. But we always seem to overlook the most simple stuff. And truly the simple stuff is what adds up the most and to the biggest results. What we're talking about today is one of those seemingly simple things but adds up to huge gains, or should I say loss in the fat department. So let's do a quick metabolism review. So we're all on the same page. If you haven't listened to that episode yet, we're gonna go over it real fast here. Your metabolism in its most basic form is all of the energy required to make your body function, your metabolism is made up of four main parts, your basal metabolic rate, that's the energy required just to keep you alive, keep your heart pumping, keep your lungs breathing, your thermic effect of food or TEF That's the energy used to digest and absorb the food that you eat. So whenever you eat food you're bringing energy in, but it also requires energy to digest that food exercise is the third part of your metabolism. And that is purposeful activity that is used to burn energy. Okay, and then your fourth piece is NEAT, non exercise Activity Thermogenesis and this is everything else that you need energy for during the day all other movements or activities that are not keeping you alive, digesting your food exercise. It's everything else. So if you can imagine that's a pretty huge piece of your energy requirements during the day and you actually have quite a bit of control over how much that is how much energy your NEAT requires. 

All of these things together are called your TDEE your total daily energy expenditure. So when we talk about your TDEE, we're measuring your energy in aka your calories from food and your energy out aka your TDEE balancing those two things is far from an exact science. We've talked about this extensively. We've talked about calories and when we talked about in your metabolism episode. I prefer to use the words energy in energy out when I'm talking about metabolism. It's more accurate but we will use calories in calories out So basically, calorie is the unit of measurement for energy. It's not an exact science, but it's what we've got. And it's the language that we all speak. So in this episode, I'm going to be talking about calories burned, but just know what I'm really talking about is energy and energy out. Make sense? 

Okay, so what is NEAT? NEAT includes all the things that you do during the day like standing, fidgeting, walking around like non exercise, walking, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, there are tons and tons of studies that have shown that NEAT can have a profound effect on your ability to lose fat even more than your workouts. Well, let me repeat that this piece of your metabolism is key, all the things that you're doing throughout the day can have an even more profound effect on your metabolism and your ability to burn fat than your actual workouts. Let me give you an example. So it's easy to understand, say we have a 145 pound person, that 145 pound person burns approximately 102 calories an hour while sitting at their desk doing their work, that same person would burn 174 calories an hour if they stood up at their desk and did the same work. That 174 calories might not seem like a lot, you might be like, who cares big deal, but it equates to 18,000 calories, or about a little over five pounds over a 50 week work year. Five pounds could be the difference between sitting at your desk or standing at your desk. To compare the standing person to the sitting person, the sitting person would have to squeeze in 60 - 30 minute runs at five miles an hour to achieve that same caloric burn over the year. Okay, so let me just make that superduper clear; someone who's standing at their desk is burning an extra 18,000 calories over the year for the sitting person to do that they'd have to get 60 - 30 minute runs in at five miles an hour to equate to 18,000 calories over that year. So do you see what I'm saying? When I say that what you're doing during the day can equate to a much bigger deal than what your workouts are. 

This is why when we talk about fat loss, we never are just talking about diet and exercise here. It's truly determined by your lifestyle. And that's where so many of these diet and exercise plans fall short. They're only talking about just what you're putting in your mouth, and how much you're exercising and what workout you're doing. But what you're doing outside of those things really matters. 

Let's talk about some studies so that you can really have this picture painted for you of how important NEAT is in your life and for your fat loss. It's also important to me that you guys understand the science because I want you to be able to look stuff up for yourself, I want you to be able to do some research, I want you to be able to understand how your body works. So it's not just me telling you things that you truly have an understanding of this. I have put in the show notes for this episode some of the studies that I'm referring to so you can actually look at the study if you want to. So in a paper published in the Journal of investigation, scientists measured TDEE, remember that's total daily energy expenditure over their subjects over a 24 hour period of time. And this was in a lab situation, so they all ate the same foods and it was sort of a very, very controlled situation. What they found was that NEAT accounted for a 100 to 800 difference in calories burned between different subjects over that 24 hours. That is huge. Let me paint that picture for you. You have a roomful of people doing the same things. Some people's NEAT is running at a higher level than other peoples. Those people are burning up to 800 calories more over a 24 hour period. Do you think that would make a difference in their ability to not get fat or

to lose fat? Yes, it's a huge difference. 

In another study by the Mayo Clinic, researchers overfed like purposely overfed participants by 1000 calories a day for eight weeks. So whatever their maintenance calories were, whatever that was determined to be so that they wouldn't lose or gain weight. They overfed them by 1000 calories. Now, traditional calorie math would assume that they should have produced about a 16 pound weight gain over that eight weeks in the participants. But what they found was something very different. They found that the participants actually gained only .79 pounds at the very lowest to 9.3 pounds at the very most, Why would that be? Calorie math assumes they all should have gained about 16 pounds, but some people gained less than a pound. And remember, nothing changed during those eight weeks except for adding that 1000 calories so their basal metabolic rate did not change. The energy required to keep them alive that didn't change their TEF didn't change only minimally. Because of that 1000 calories right, the thermic effect of food didn't really go up, their exercise didn't go up. In fact, they were encouraged to not exercise. So how did they keep from gaining weight over that eight week period, it was their NEAT, their non exercise Activity Thermogenesis. In some people, it went up by 336 calories per day, so they're bringing in an extra 1000 calories. And on average, their body just started naturally burning off an extra 336 so that it didn't start adding up as fat. Isn't that amazing? 

How your body can adapt from person to person, though, changes in me ranged wildly, right, so we're eating this extra 1000 calories a day. For some people, their NEAT went down, which is very interesting that this poor person, their NEAT actually went down by 98 calories, they're kind of an outlier. For another person, their need actually went up 692 calories per day. What the bottom line of this study is, is that the higher the NEAT the less fat they gained, like bottom line, over eight weeks, we overfed all of these people, the higher NEAT they had, the less fat they put on their body because of it, that is important to all of us. Because if we can then take advantage of NEAT if we can adjust our NEAT, if we can make it burn more energy, our non activity energy burn, if we can crank that up, we are less likely to gain fat and we are more likely to burn more fat. So we've got to start taking advantage of this, right, this is a big deal. And it's something that we totally overlook. 

So there's going to be four important pieces to improving your NEAT and using it to your advantage, and they are TRACK IT, MOVE IT, EAT IT, LIFT IT. Okay, so let's first talk about tracking. What we need to do first is just be aware of how much we are moving and or not moving throughout the day. So you're gonna make a list of all your daily activities, and then you're going to add it up, how many hours a day, are you sedentary? How many hours a day are you sitting at your desk, sitting in the car, laying in bed sitting on the couch, you might be shocked at how many hours this actually adds up to. But you need to be aware of those places where you're being sedentary so that you can figure out how to add some movement. So take all those activities that you wrote down. And then we're gonna think about how we can add movement. 

So that's the second piece, adding movement, move it. So where could you add movement? Could you instead of sitting at your desk, could you stand at your desk? Could you get up every hour or? Or every 30 minutes and move for just five to 10 minutes? Could you walk around while you're talking on the phone? Instead of sitting at your desk talking on the phone? Could you do voice to text so instead of typing on your computer while sitting at your desk, could you walk around and speak and have that go into text instead of typing like you can get really creative about how to add more movement to your day. But first you have to understand the places that it will be really easy for you to understand for you to add in that movement. So how else can you add movement? Um, maybe you're at your kids soccer game, instead of sitting in a chair on the sidelines, once you walk up and down the sidelines? When they're at practice? Why don't you walk around the field or wherever they're practicing? Can you carry groceries instead of pushing them in a cart? Maybe maybe not if Costco? Probably not?

Can you take the stairs instead of the elevator? Can you go walk to your coworkers desk and talk to them? Instead of sending them an email or a text? Can you take the long way to the bathroom? Can you garden or play or dance? I mean even fidgeting burns an extra 40 calories an hour just while you're sitting at your desk. So think about just all the small ways that you could add a movement. So instead of making things easier for yourself all the time, why don't you think about making things slightly harder for yourself? Right? When you're putting the laundry away, do a little extra squat when you're doing it or do a little extra twisting when you're trying to put stuff away. Like all the small things that you can do all the simple little ways that you can add movement to your day are going to be super duper important. 

Our first inclination always when we're thinking about losing fat is that we want to exercise more right? I gotta get on that treadmill. I gotta get on that elliptical, I gotta go go go more and more and more, burn more calories get in the fat burning zone. That's always our first inclination. But super interestingly, one study that I found that I think is so true, if we really think about it, it found that when we exercise too much, and in the study, they were talking about cardio exercise, specifically, we have a higher tendency to be more sedentary, the rest of the day, often to the point where we would have been better off not exercising and just having more non exercise movement in the day. Okay, so let me explain. Imagine that you get up in the morning, you go down and you like, hit the treadmill and you're running or you hit the peloton or whatever you're doing, and you get a really hard workout in if you're getting a really hard workout in Are you then more likely to sit more during the day, now your body's tired, you're sore, you know, it was really hard, your energy is lower. I think for a lot of us, this can be very true. So I want you to be super duper aware of how your workouts are affecting your movement throughout the rest of the day, if your workout is creating a situation where you are less likely to move the rest of the day, your workout needs to change, okay, I want you to be really honest with yourself about that, because your movement throughout the day is going to have a bigger impact than that 30 minute workout that you did that now you're moving less because of Okay, so we’ve got to get really honest with ourselves, and we have to really be aware of how things are affecting us. I am clearly not saying that exercise is bad. And we're gonna talk about that in a second. Obviously, I am a promoter of exercise, but I need you to understand for you how that's affecting your movement throughout the rest of the day. 

So whether you are currently a worker outer and exerciser, regularly or irregularly or your a non exercise or altogether doesn't matter, either, which either way, you need to be focusing on adding more movement throughout your day. So think about the creative ways that you can add movement, little movement, even extra steps. So we talked about tracking, understand how often you are sedentary throughout the day, we've talked about move it adding more movement of any kind to your day. And now we're going to talk about eat it. Because our second inclination when we're trying to lose fat, is to eat less, right, that's the mantra we are told over and over and over again, eat less, exercise more, eat less, exercise more, well, you can only cut calories so much, right? This is not a long term strategy, just keep cutting calories is not a long term strategy is going to backfire on you remember, your metabolism is highly adaptable. And it's always trying to find a balance. So often when you give it less energy, it's going to slow down its energy usage. In order to compensate. 

You are probably here because you are this type of person, right, the kind of person who seems to easily gain weight, but not lose it very easily. That has to do with me, that person is more often sedentary. And I can tell you for sure that I am more sedentary now than I was when my kids were younger, right when they were little, I was moving around all the time chasing them around cleaning this up wiping this down doing all the things now that they're teenagers, my day is sitting with them while we're homeschooling, right sitting at a desk with them. And then when we're done with that I then sit at a desk again in front of a computer and work on my business. So my day definitely has a lot more sitting now than it did maybe say 10 years ago. So be really aware of how sedentary you are, the more sedentary you're out you are. Here's what's happening. Your energy expenditure, your NEAT doesn't go up very much when you overeat, so it's not compensating well for those extra calories. And when you eat less, your NEAT drops more dramatically. So eat less equals burn less even more dramatically. So this is something that you have to be really, really aware of and making sure that you are eating enough food. And it's a balance, right? 

It's a balance. And whenever we're talking about calories in calories out energy and energy out, we are trying to find the point, that very personal point that it's individual to everybody. That's why there's no such thing as a one size fits all diet. We're trying to find that perfect balance point where we are eating enough but not too much so that our NEAT doesn't slow down and we are burning enough but not too much so that our NEAT doesn't slow down. Okay, that is a very personal spot. And the way you find it is experimentation. Like you really just have to start paying attention to how you're feeling, how your body's reacting, how much energy you have during the day like it's this real balance point and that's what we do together. And that healthy mind Healthy Body program. I hope you figure out for yourself what that sweet spot

is. So I'm going to encourage you that if you have been cutting, cutting, cutting calories, start slowly adding back because you might find as most people do that When they start adding calories back, their NEAT will improve. Right, they will now have a, they will now burn more calories throughout the day, burn more energy throughout the day. And that is what you want. Okay. 

And the last piece then is lift it, so track it, move it, eat it and lift it. Now again, I am a huge proponent of exercise, but my very favorite and the very most important exercise that you should be doing is resistance exercise. Adding resistance exercise will improve your NEAT throughout the day. Remember, you've always heard muscle burns more energy than fat, and it's true. The more muscle you have on your body, the more energy is required to just move you throughout your day. Having more muscle mass will improve your NEAT. This doesn't have to be complicated, it doesn't have to be. It doesn't require a lot of equipment, you can use purely bodyweight in our mind body membership. There's 30 different workouts that I created that are all bodyweight or minimal equipment things that you have around your house like a gallon of milk or maybe a large pot or a pan. Right super simple stuff. This doesn't require a lot, like I'm talking real simple, you can cruise on YouTube and find a million bodyweight resistance exercise routines, like it's not hard to find and a lot of it's free. So I encourage you to once you start moving your body more in these small ways throughout the day to then start thinking about adding resistance exercise, it is going to improve your energy expenditure throughout the day, it's going to raise up your NEAT you're going to burn more calories throughout the day, and it's going to be beneficial to you. And you can also do this in such a way that it is not going to cause you later in the day, like maybe a really hard cardio session might to slow down and sit more during the day. So that again, exercise is that sweet spot, you want to do just enough, but not too much. You want to eat just enough but not too much. That is really what you're trying to find. 

And friends this takes time, you have to give yourself time to figure out there is not one simple plan that I can be like everyone should do this exact thing and it'll work it won't. We're all different, right? My meat may be very different than your meat. And we're gonna have to address that in different ways. These were ways that I just told you is kind of the blanket statement about how to do that. But you individually have to learn how to do that for yourself. Does that make sense? 

So again, I want to encourage you and remind you that we are doing a 30 day movement challenge. And what this is doing is geared towards improving your meat, it's geared toward helping you move more throughout the day. So that you can burn more calories and burn more energy really without even thinking about it. Isn't that nice? So don't forget, we start April 18. If you are not registered yet, go to to get yourself registered, get in there, we've got some really fun prizes. It's a really great group of ladies, we're all there to encourage each other and hold each other accountable. And I am going to be popping in there a ton with different lives and different trainings and live coaching to help problem solve and help you guys get unstuck and move forward and get all the things done that you need to do. And help you overcome any kind of blocks or excuses or issues that you're having. You get me as a coach for 30 days, which for free. That's a pretty big deal. Make sure that you get in there, it's totally free. It's all at your own pace. You pick your own goals, and I tell you how to do that. So it's not me saying oh, if you want to win the prize, you have to walk 10,000 steps a day. Nope. You decide how many steps you're walking a day you decide how you're moving. Every day you decide what that looks like for you, you set your own goal you stick to it. That's how this works. I am so excited to do this with you guys. It's going to be super fun. So get yourself registered The link will also be in the show notes. So just scroll on down. I can't wait to see you over there. We start April 18. So make sure you're in before then. All right. Until we talk again, my friends, hopefully over in that Facebook group where the challenge is. Be Well

Hey, friends, thanks so much for being here. If you found value in today's episode, will you do me a favor and head over to iTunes? Find the no nonsense wellness podcast and subscribe and leave me a review. It would mean the world to me and help other people find the show. And I'd love to connect with you more. So find me on Instagram. I’m @tarafaulmann. Take a screenshot of this episode and share it in your stories and tag me. I'll see you over there.

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